Don’t Miss Your Numbers, Call a Time-Out

By Matthew Levy

Now is the time to get the company back on track.

The Problem: Results Should be Better and the Year is Passing Us By

Executive Team members probably said they “buy-in” to the budget, strategy and plans. The next level leaders probably said they were “on-board,” and they seemed to be…kind of…mostly. You must already know that buy-in and on-board are not the same true commitment that exceptional results require.

Even from the past week, you can think of examples of goals that were not achieved, promises that were not kept, and follow-though that didn’t happen. Frustrating, isn’t it?

There certainly are strategies to adjust and some issues that the team has not been able to resolve. There are other barriers to success as well and you must already know that that all of these are major factors that have contributed to why results are as they are this year. Am I right?

If you are reading this, then you must want to improve your results. So, get the company back on track or up the game before it is too late. Wondering how to do that?  I’ll tell you.

The Solution: An Executive Time-OutTO

Call a strategic “Time-Out” for the Executive Team and take a step back.

With a well planned and artfully facilitated intervention, the executive team can address and resolve the thorny issues that are hindering performance.  It will be an opportunity to foster meaningful commitment to strategies, plans and targets in a way that may have never occurred before. Initiating this process now will empower the executive team to redirect and lead the company more effectively to achieve its targets.

I recommend the following:

  1. Plan carefully anticipate the challenges, but give space for surprises
  2. Call a Time-Out, and let the Executive Team know you will be taking them off-site to get the company back on track.
  3. Establish urgency. Explain why this is critical and must happen now.
  4. Focus on the Goals: focus on the original targets and resist the temptation to sell yourselves and your shareholders short.TO T
  5. Get it all on the Table. Discuss all, and I mean ALL critical, difficult and issues that have been avoided or not resolved.  It can be messy, but it is absolutely necessary to bust through the barriers.
  6. Resolve Conflicts to bring focus back to strategy, execution and getting results. This will also cause a quantum leap in team effectiveness.
  7. Re-assess Strategy, organization, budget, culture, plans, and resources to hit the original targets. Encourage boldness and tenacity — again, don’t sell yourselves short.
  8. Set priorities, make commitments, and follow through. (For more on execution, promises and follow-through, click here.)

By now you should realize that choosing not to reset will perpetuate the current trajectory and the behaviors that caused it, significantly diminishing results this year and beyond.

On the other hand, getting the executive team offsite to assess and reset the team and the business will create a fresh start that empowers the entire company immediately.  Such a meeting can be a line-in-the-sand kind of event — one that you can look back on as the one that began a transformation of the firm.

If you are the CEO, then making this a priority now is the best way to ensure stellar results this year.  If you are not the CEO, then forward this article and set a meeting to discuss the benefits of an Executive Time-out.

Words of Caution

You might be thinking of facilitating this initiative yourself or to have someone else in the company lead it. And, I’m sure you already know the problem with this so don’t do it. If you want this to be a very critical team intervention and strategic redirection and not just another planning session then it can not be managed from within.

Creating such a watershed event requires a well refined and proven process and an outside facilitator as a catalyst.  I do realize that I am biased here, but in a situation like this, the outside perspective and ability to be both committed and detached is paramount.

Either way, I would be happy to talk you through this process over the phone.

On a personal note, I had a wonderful experience last weekend.  Ceren Ozer, a friend and Economist at the World Bank, called me.  She was preparing a workshop on Women in Leadership and Professional Networking for female Ph.D. students anticipating their post-graduation return home to their developing countries.  In the U.S., we can so easily take for granted how easy it is for us to expand our professional networks to better our own lives and impact the world.  Unfortunately, that is difficult for women in many countries where the decks are stacked against them.  Let me know if you would like to learn more about Ceren’s work or the Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund that funded the training.  Thank you, Ceren, for inspiring me and for letting me contribute.

Lastly, remember to share this email with someone that should see it.  And then, get your company back on-track before it is too late in the year. 

Matthew Levy, Matthew Levy Miami, Results Management Group

Matthew Levy is the Chief Catalyst at Results Management Group, a growth and change management consulting and executive coaching firm that dramatically shifts business results by: facilitating the creation of compelling visions and strategies, aligning executive and other management teams; developing an organizational capacity to manage execution; designing organizational environments that support the attainment of dramatically better results in any area. Matthew can be reached at (305)704-8990.

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